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Pool opening likely delayed, bookings stopped

By Meg Dickens
Freelance Writer

Those within the Johnson County community have been waiting with bated breath as Memorial Day approaches. As most locals are aware, city officials committed to reopening the local pool at that time for the first time in several years. City Mayor Jerry Jordan reports that this goal is unlikely to come true. Although several problems have been fixed, others now stand in the way of opening this facility.
“I’ve instructed Sheila not to take any pool party requests because we don’t want to take requests and then not have the pool open on Memorial Day weekend,” Mayor Jordan announced. “So, as soon as we get the pool open, we’ll start taking requests. It’s a big if, but I know that the public is expecting it and wanting it. I think we’ve got a commitment from ourselves. We’re going to try to do our best to open the pool.”
The facility was closed because of a leak in the swimming pool bottom that was reportedly causing significant costs to the city through water loss. As investigations continued, other issues, such as the outdated electrical equipment, came to light. While electrical problems have reportedly fixed, other projects, such as replacing the pool lights, are still in progress due to weather delays.
As officials grew closer to reopening the facility, a different problem came to light. The facility lacked lifeguards. According to City Recorder Sheila Shaw, officials knew of three official lifeguards and were under the impression there were eight signed up. The other five that were interested, reportedly have not filled out their required paperwork. The city usually hires ten lifeguards per requirements.
“We can’t open the pool with only three people,” Shaw commented on the legality.
The city has a few plans to help increase lifeguard numbers to an acceptable rate. The first of which is to pay for their required certifications. According to City Mayor Jerry Jordan, A.C.T.I.O.N. Coalition and Hometown Service Coalition have offered to help fundraise to cover the costs. The American Red Cross has also agreed to come here to teach the classes locally. While the dry training could be done now, the
wet training portion cannot take place until the pool is filled.
The other move to draw in potential employees is a
pay increase. Officials
agreed that lifeguards need
to be paid at least $10 an
hour. The decision needed
to be made quickly, so the
city can advertise the positions.
“I know in the past that we paid the lifeguards $8 an hour, and we paid Earl that managed the pool $10 an hour,” Mayor Jordan explained. “With today’s times, that ain’t gonna get it. I think we’re going to have to pay the lifeguards at least $10 an hour as a minimum and Earl $13 an hour. We need to make a decision on what we’re going to pay them because when we go to advertise for lifeguards, the first thing they’re going to ask is how much they’re going to make.”
When open, the city pool usually operates from 11 m to 5 pm on weekdays and Saturdays, 1 pm to 5 pm on
Sundays, and 6 pm to 9 pm for party bookings. Keep an eye out for more pool updates in the future. For more information about city government, visit mountaincitytn.org.